Drumming with unconventional sounds

I sampled my acoustic guitar and turned it into a drumkit.

Since the launch of this project in early 2018 I got a lot of questions, ranging from “how do I set up my maschine with Ableton“, to “wtf, the video’s aren’t working” to “can you do the funky drummer“. First of all, yes I can do the funky drummer and I did a video about that that you can check out over here. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this article. I want to talk about the question I got asked the most, which always would go something like this: “Hey, supercool that you can play ‘real’ drums on a pad controller, but how about taking this thing to the next level and doing stuff with it that you cannot do on real drums?“.

Well, this video/article is about that. Kind off. It’s about creating a drumkit out of an acoustic guitar by creatively recording ad sampling it. Not something a regular drummer would do on a regular day. A regular drummer could do this however. There are midi drumkits. There’s even midi drum triggers you can put on your real drums to trigger midi sounds. So any drummer that wants to go ‘next level’ with virtual sounds, looping, etc. could do all of this as well.

And that’s kind of the thing nowadays. Anybody, playing any instrument, can take it ‘next level’ by using technology. Weither that’s a loopstation, sample triggers or any other crazy piece of technology. Everything is possible. I think that’s a good thing and I think the only thing we should always keep in mind while being little innovators taking whatever we’re doing to the next level is that in the end it should be about the music. What do we want to say? What do we want to hear? Do we want something soft, something loud, something exciting, something mellow? It doesn’t really matter how you get there as long as you’re happy with the piece of music you end up with. And I don’t care if that was created on a 17th century lute, recorded through an iphone or played on an ultra fancy 333 pad mega mpc from the future that was sent here through a time portal.

A few thoughts:
– If a maschine or mpc is normally used for programming electronic beats, is playing it as an acoustic drumkit taking it to the next level? Or another level?
– If you’ve been playing a regular drumkit up until now and you put a pair of bongo’s next to your toms and you start hitting those once in a while, is that taking it to the next level?
– If you decide you’re gonna only start making beats that do not use hi hats, is that the next level?
– If you start playing every beat you’ve ever learned backwards, is that next level?
– Is not learning any new beats for a year and instead perfecting all the beats you already know taking it next level?

I think the answer to these questions is always that it’s about what you feel like doing on any particular moment. Yes, you should be creative, yes you should try and figure out new ways to do things, but what the ‘new’ way is, is completely up to you. I believe that if you’re passionate, and you’re determined and you follow your heart, you will always end up taking something to the next level in one way or the other. 🙂

That said, enjoy this video. I loved messing around with unconventional drum sounds and I will definitely look for other ways to do ‘out of the box’ stuff like this in the future!

The beat I play ▼

Swing feel. You have to flatten your right thumb to cover two pads at the beginning of bar 4.

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